Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Need to Define Positive Manhood

I spent the past week in San Antonio to attend and participate in the annual conference hosted by Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. One of the sessions I attended was about how we should address the sexualization and objectification of women in various forms of media. We looked at trends in advertising, some recent ads, and discussed the prevalence of these ads in the public where they are even accessible to children such as a QR Code that leads anyone with a smartphone to a Calvin Klein ad where at one point a psuedo-rape scene is depicted.

I was in a room filled with advocates and educators who have worked in the movement against sexual violence for years, and I appreciated the experience that was around me. There was one thing that I just couldn't get past. Everyone who commented on the ads, media clips, and images did a great job of pointing out how each of these pieces were demeaning towards women and reflected how far we have come to perceive women as objects rather than people. They were pointing out the attitudes and social norms that needed to be eradicated, however they never really pointed out what a positive model for manhood looked like.

Matthew 12:43-45 talks about the importance of replacing one's heart and mind with positive beliefs when we have worked so hard to remove sin from our lives. When we fail to replace an old model of doing things with a better, positive one, we simply revert to the old model. In this case, if we do not define what positive manhood looks like, and encourage men to follow that model, then we will most definitely stay in this cycle of sexualization, objectification, and violence against women, and violence in general.

What character traits do you feel make a complete and positive image of manhood? (Comment below.)

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